I need to write a paragraph where I have to take a step back and develop a specific point before proceeding with the rest of essay.

I know "let's take a step back and clarify..." is very colloquial, and Italian is my mother tongue, so bear with me... ;)

How can I replace this expression with something more elegant?

3 Answers 3


You might find more help on the Academia Stack Exchange site, but you should have already developed the necessary background information before you start analyzing it. Without more context it's difficult to help, but traditionally you shouldn't "break the fourth wall," so to speak.

  • what's break the fourth wall?
    – Francesco
    Apr 30, 2018 at 3:44
  • The "fourth wall" refers to an "imagined wall separates actors from the audience." In this case, saying "Let's take a step back..." is speaking directly to the reader, which you should generally avoid in a traditional essay.
    – Aaron
    Apr 30, 2018 at 3:46
  • 1
    either way im just writing an article for a blog post, not really academic. It is still an english question and this website is appropriate.
    – Francesco
    Apr 30, 2018 at 3:51

For a blog post, I would say that "let's take a step back" would be fine: it's informal and friendly.

In more formal writing, maybe something like: "To review all that has been said..." or "If we consider the big picture..."


looking back

look back (at someone or something) and look back (on someone or something) TFD idiom

  1. to gaze back and try to get a view of someone or something.
  2. to think about someone or something in the past.

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